W38: Blueberry Update

In W38 in the blueberry landscape, the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) has approved India's decision to reduce tariffs on imports of fresh, frozen, and dried blueberries from the United States (US), countering a previous 30% tariff that had diminished American blueberry market share in India. This move is expected to level the competitive landscape for American blueberry producers as a result of years of efforts to increase consumer demand for US blueberries in India. In Ukraine, some growers have shifted their focus from berries to vegetables to support the country during wartime.

Peru has rapidly become the world's leading supplier of blueberries, surpassing countries like Chile, Spain, and the US. In 2022, Peru shipped nearly 300 thousand tons of blueberries, a 30% increase from the previous year. Blueberries account for 14% of Peru's agro-export basket, with exports growing from USD 1 million in 2012 to USD 1.36 million in 2022. From Jan-23 to Jul-23, blueberry shipments increased by 7%, with the US being the largest destination, accounting for 52% of the total, followed by the European Union (24%), China, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom (UK). The growth in blueberry exports has had a positive impact on various regions in Peru, with La Libertad leading at 61%, followed by Lambayeque (24%), Ica (9%), and Lima (7%).

In 2022, 102 companies in Peru were involved in blueberry exports, with 32% being micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). These MSMEs have played a significant role in job creation and have positively impacted the country's economic growth. The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) and the National Agrarian Health Service (Senasa) are collaborating to diversify the destination markets for Peruvian blueberries. Efforts are underway to open up markets in China for frozen blueberries, and South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Vietnam for fresh blueberries.

Furthermore, the blueberry industry in Peru has experienced a significant decline in production, with a 39% drop compared to the previous export campaign due to El Niño and a lack of the required cold hours for fruit development. Argentina has seized the opportunity created by Peru's reduced production, leading to a surge in demand for its blueberries. The early shipments started, and reasonably satisfactory prices have benefited the Argentine blueberry industry.

While Argentina doesn't expect substantial volume growth, it has focused on varietal replacement and organic certification, with 85% of its production currently being organic. The primary export markets for Argentine blueberries are continental Europe (53%), Brazil (15%), and the Middle East (15%). The US has also become a more significant market for Argentine blueberries in 2023. Argentina has been targeting niche markets, focusing on the UK, continental Europe, and Brazil. The Brazilian market has shown steady growth, with increasing interest among consumers.

Additionally, Argentina has been developing its domestic market, with blueberries gaining popularity among consumers. The country plans to complement its production with Chilean blueberries until March to sustain consumption and ensure continued demand for blueberries.
Lastly, at the end of W37, South Africa's blueberry exports amounted to 1.94 thousand metric tons (mt), a 29.7% decrease compared to 2.76 thousand mt exported during the same period in the 2022/23 season. This decline is due to ripeness delays in production regions, but there is optimism that export volumes will recover. Notably, South African blueberry exports to the Middle East surged by 52.7% and to the Indian Ocean Islands by 18.6%, indicating an increasing demand from these markets.

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